Getting killed by park managers - Posted by Gene

Posted by Mr. H (IN) on May 02, 2007 at 11:49:58:

Here in Indy, you can go online to the Dept of Health website and, with a little searching, find the name of every MHP owner with contact information. Don’t know if it will help but the owner hired a manager to eliminate his headaches, not increase them.

Sometimes, the squeaky wheel gets the most attention.

Getting killed by park managers - Posted by Gene

Posted by Gene on May 01, 2007 at 17:38:41:

I got a mobile back from a guy a few months ago. He paid me and the space rent but had to move and could not sell it so he gave it back to me.

I paid the park the rent and as soon as I got time got over there and cleaned it up so I could re-sell it.

I have gotten a ton on intrest but everyone that wants to buy it gets turned down by the park managment. I am talking about over 20 diffrent folks here. The park says thier credit isn’t good enough.

But I have talked to other people that moved into the park and they told me thier credit was worse than many that wanted to buy my place but were turned away.

It seems like the park managers know that I will pay the space rent so they would rather just not approve any of my would-be buyers.

This has been going on for months now and I am not sure what to do. Its costing me a lot.

Any ideas?

Gene

Any update? - Posted by Glen (OH)

Posted by Glen (OH) on May 15, 2007 at 20:46:57:

Any news on your situation with the park manager?

Glen (OH)

Re: Getting killed by park managers - Posted by Glen (OH)

Posted by Glen (OH) on May 02, 2007 at 07:10:33:

Gene,
Check the archives for a post by John Merchant concerning this very problem. (John is an attorney.)

Glen (OH)

Re: Getting killed by park managers - Posted by Ryan (NC)

Posted by Ryan (NC) on May 01, 2007 at 21:06:01:

Much as Tony stated, we’ve had problems with parks as well… in general we try to take the approach that we’ll guarantee the parks lot rent for the duration of our contract if they’ll let us do the screening and we out line what we look for. (we also normally give the parks a final say on who goes in although it is more of a meet and greet type thing)

This can be a drag at times due the the lag on the out go of lot rent and the income from the tenants as we collect all of the $ from the payer and it can run a couple days to weeks before some folks pay. There is more information in the archives look for a post by Scott (NC) in particular.

When it gets to bad and it just don’t work we pull the homes fairly quickly to keep the blood loss to a minimum and then target that park for movers. We bought a 1991 14x76 3/2 in a hostile park today with this exact intent, paid $1050 for the unit, will need $1000 or so in materials and labor, $2500 to move and set and we’ve got a unit that will rent for $450. The kicker is the county seems to have zoned this park out and will not let them replace homes which means the park will loose $145 / month until it’s converted to a higher better use. Don’t try to under stand it, if a firm talk doesn’t work look for someplace else to put it that WANTS to work with you.

Best wishes,
Ryan Needler (who learned this lesson by running up 9 months of lot rent after completely rehabbing a unit prior to finally cash selling at a $750 loss)

Re: Getting killed by park managers - Posted by Tony Colella

Posted by Tony Colella on May 01, 2007 at 18:42:29:

I suspect most if not all of us who have done Lonnie deals for more than a few years run into this. Sometimes a seriouse chat helps but not always.

Typically what follows is we have to move that home out of that park and into greener pastures. Even Lonnie has had to do this.

Then we often find that there might just be some more homes in that park that we could buy cheap and move to greener pasture.

Ironically when this has had to be done we have found that the park takes sometimes years before filling that spot.

Sometimes talking to the owner is the best bet but I suspect that anytime the park manager feels you are going over their head you will become an enemy and future deals will have similar problems.

You could stand there all day and talk about equal housing opportunity etc. but the reality is if the park manager has it out for you then they will find other ways to get back at you.

One of the reaons I decided to start owning the land either through land/home packages or small parks.

When you are working with a park manager or owner who understands your value is higher than that one lot rent check you are in business. It does take some effort on our part to make sure that relationship remains favorable. One reason I always gave the park manager a $100 referal fee anytime the sent me a buyer or a home to buy. Park managers were making a couple hundred a month extra from me so they did not care who paid the lot rent and approved my buyers if they passed the min. requirements. I also targeted buying homes of the parks worst rent payors and biggest park problems. When I got those problem tenants off the park manager’s back they loved our business.

Tony

Good call…sharing what I found (very long) - Posted by Gene

Posted by Gene on May 02, 2007 at 10:36:35:

Good Call…I thought I would share what I found…

Ethridge v. Hwang, No. 44545-6-I, (Slip Op., February 12, 2001, ordered published March 16, 2001).

Feb. 2001 ETHRIDGE v. HWANG 1

Cause No. 44545-6-I

[No. 44545-6-I. Division One. February 12, 2001.]

MARY ETHRIDGE, a single )

woman, ) No. 44545-6-I

)

) DIVISION ONE

Respondent, )

)

v. )

)

ANNA HWANG and DAVID HWANG, )

wife and husband d/b/a DUVALL )

HIGHLANDS MOBILE HOME PARK, ) FILED: February 12, 2001

)

Appellants. )

This opinion was originally filed as an unpublished opinion

February 12, 2001. An order granting motion to publish was

filed March 16, 2001.

Trial Court: Superior Court, King County,

No. 97-2-09814-9, Robert Alsdorf, J., April 29, 1999.

Edwards Sieh Smith & Goodfriend P.S., by Howard M. Goodfriend,

for appellants.

Dan R. Young, for respondent.

WEBSTER, J. – Mary Ethridge, a tenant of a mobile home park, sued the

mobile home park owner, Anna Hwang, alleging that Hwang unreasonably

rejected her potential home purchasers. Ethridge prevailed following a

jury trial, and Hwang appeals. Hwang argues that the trial court erred

in not dismissing Ethridge’s claims under the Mobile Home Landlord Tenant

Act (“MHLTA”) and the Consumer Protection Act, and that the verdicts

based on these claims were not supported by substantial evidence. Hwang

also claims that the jury’s finding that Hwang tortiously interfered with

Ethridge’s business expectancy was not supported by substantial evidence.

Finally, Hwang argues that the trial court erred in awarding Ethridge

attorney’s fees and costs. Each contention, while strenuously argued,

lacks merit. We therefore affirm.

FACTS

Mary Ethridge owned a mobile home located at space #119 in Duvall

Highlands Mobile Home Park. The park is owned by Anna Hwang. In April

1997, Ethridge sued Hwang, alleging that she attempted to sell her home

to a buyer, Mr. Qualls, but that Anna Hwang unreasonably refused to

permit the sale. Ethridge also alleged that she found another buyer,

Ms. Cubine, but Hwang again unreasonably and wrongfully refused to

approve the sale. The complaint further alleged that Ethridge had been

forced to live and work in an area in which she no longer wished to live,

thereby causing her emotional distress.

Ethridge alleged that this conduct violated the Mobile Home Landlord

Tenant Act (“MHLTA”) (RCW 59.20.010 et seq.) and constituted tortious

interference with contract.

In addition, Ethridge alleged that Hwang had a widespread pattern

and practice of refusing to permit the assignment of tenants’ rental

agreements, denying applications for tenancy in the mobile home park, and

refusing to approve sales of mobile homes in the park on idiosyncratic,

frivolous, unreasonable, and unlawful grounds. Ethridge alleged that

Hwang engaged in these practices in the park in which Ethridge resided,

and in the White River Estates Mobile Home Park, which Hwang also

operated. /1 Ethridge alleged that as a proximate result of Hwang’s

unfair and deceptive conduct, Ethridge suffered injury to business or

property and Hwang’s conduct violated the Consumer Protection Act

(“CPA”).

Hwang moved for summary judgment and to compel arbitration. The court

denied the motion for summary judgment and transferred the case to

mandatory arbitration. The arbitrator ruled that Ethridge had suffered

damages of $384 in lost wages as a result of Hwang’s untimely rejection of

the Cubine sale and that Ethridge was entitled to attorney’s fees as the

prevailing party in the amount of $14,277.60. Hwang appealed, requesting a

trial de novo.

The jury returned a special verdict, finding that Hwang had violated

the MHLTA and the CPA, and had intentionally interfered with a business

relationship or expectancy, causing damage of $3,000. The jury awarded

Ethridge $10,000 in additional damages for pain and suffering as a result

of the intentional interference. The jury found for Hwang in the amount

of $1,140 on her counterclaim for rent or other charges.

Following the jury verdict, Ethridge filed a motion for attorney’s fees

as the prevailing party in the litigation. The court determined that

$39,585 was a reasonable lodestar fee, and then increased the lodestar

fee by 25%, for a total of $49,481.25 in attorney’s fees. In addition,

the court awarded increased damages of $9,000 for violation of the CPA.

A total judgment of $72,759.52 was entered against Hwang.

Following the verdict, Hwang filed a motion for judgment as a matter of

law, or alternatively for a new trial, which was denied.

In this appeal, Hwang argues that the trial court should have dismissed

Ethridge’s MHLTA and CPA claims; the damages awarded were not supported

by substantial evidence; Ethridge was not entitled to increased damages;

the fees and costs awarded were improper, and the court erred in failing

to give certain requested jury instructions. Because these arguments

lack merit, we affirm.

Re: Getting killed by park managers - Posted by Michael Nelson (NC)

Posted by Michael Nelson (NC) on May 08, 2007 at 14:26:32:

I had the same experience roughly. held a unit for over 4 months with buyer after buyer turned down buy the park. Then when one buyer was finally accepted, the park ended up selling one of theirs to them!! At that point, I decided it was time to start thinking about flipping it as a mover, which is exactly what I did…
Now if I could only find that elusive ‘pet’ park! hehe

Re: Getting killed by park managers - Posted by Gene

Posted by Gene on May 01, 2007 at 21:17:16:

>>>>>>>>in general we try to take the approach that we’ll guarantee the parks lot rent for the duration of our contract>>>>>>>

This sounds like a great way to approach my situation. I think them might go for it.

Moving the mobile out of the park…it wouldn’t be worth it for me. Its an inexpensive place and no other park will let it in.

I have been looking for a park of my own but with run down parks bringing in cap rates lower than 8%…its not the right time.

Gene

Re: Getting killed by park managers - Posted by land-o

Posted by land-o on May 01, 2007 at 21:19:09:

I was in the unfortunate situation of being on the other side, I was the
land owner and had some people doing the “lonnie” deals, they had 13
trailers and they were so run down they were typically turned over to
new owners every 6 months, and nobody ever did any repairs, they got
progressively more evil looking with each tenant (new buyer)

Finally I decided to “own” all the trailers, and told all people that owned
their own that when they sell they have to take it with them.

If you want a good relationship with your managers, you have to start
out right and stay right, including put money into improvements as
promised.

The manager could care less how the inside looks, he wants the yards
nice, the skirting tight and the exterior neat, but that doesn’t sell
lonnie deals, the financing does! SO they would promise and not
deliver, and then their people (buyers-tenants) would be management
nightmares. And they lonnie dealers were a trip about their "rights"
threatening to “sue” and encouraging their tenants to “sue”, and then
the next time they came in they would smile and act like nothing ever
happened.

To have a good relation with your park management, you have to
protect his rear end, not threaten to bite it off!

Re: Getting killed by park managers - Posted by Gene

Posted by Gene on May 01, 2007 at 19:39:01:

>>>>>Sometimes a seriouse chat helps but not always.>>>>>

Just wondering how you would approach this. What has worked for you in the past?

I was thinking about telling them that I am not sure how much longer I can hold on. That the payments are a real problem and if it dosn’t sell soon, I am not sure what we are going to do.

Any thought?

Gene

Re: Getting killed by park managers - Posted by Gene

Posted by Gene on May 01, 2007 at 19:20:00:

>>>>>>>>One of the reaons I decided to start owning the land either through land/home packages or small parks.>>>>>>

Yea, I usually do land/home deals or stick built houses. I am not use to being at someone elses mercy like this.

I have stayed away from condos for this very reason.

Using Etheridge vs. Hwang in YOUR state - Posted by John Merchant

Posted by John Merchant on May 11, 2007 at 10:30:12:

I’ve used the Etheridge decision to educate a number of MHP managers here in WA State, and same idea might work for any Lonnie dealer anywhere.

I drop into the MHP office and meet the manager if he/she’s in, and tell them who I am and what I’m doing there and that I look forward to a profitable relationship with them.

Also I leave them with a little package including my offer to finance any buyer whom they’ve approved, a short bio on me and my Lonnie business…and a copy of Etheridge vs. Hwang as “suggested by my lawyer” so as to “help” the MHP mgr understand the rights and responsibilities of the MHP as to approving or dis-approving of any purchaser prospects I’m going to be bringing in.

I’ve seen some nice attitude adjustments since I started doing this…and one or two who used to be kinda tough to deal with, but for some reason seem to have become a little friendlier.

Another idea: See if you can get the MHP mgr to tell you the FICO score they require and anything else about their requirements as to financial, credit, criminal…having this info before sending the prospect to the office will let you know what you’ve got and not waste time trying to slip any crum-bum by them, who you don’t want either.

Re: Getting killed by park managers - Posted by Stephen-VA

Posted by Stephen-VA on May 02, 2007 at 09:09:40:

Nice post Land-O.

Re: Getting killed by park managers - Posted by Gene

Posted by Gene on May 01, 2007 at 21:26:27:

I have a good releationship with the managers. I fixed up the exterior and they even choose the colors.

I worked hard to create a win/win situation. But they seem to be unintrested in approving anyone because they know I am paying the rent and its one less tenant for them to deal with.

Gene

Two solutions - Posted by Tony Colella

Posted by Tony Colella on May 01, 2007 at 22:19:28:

Sure, that conversation sounds something like this. “I have sent in 20 buyers but you have turned them all down and now the lot rent is becoming too much for us to continue to pay without any hope of selling. Guess we will have to move it right?”

The final element to the puzzle for those PM’s that still won’t play game on homes that (as you indicated) are not worth moving is…" we sold it for cash, here is a copy of the title in the new owners name."

Quielty you say to yourself, “Enjoy your new tenants.”

This is when you sell for $500 cash, as is. From there you let the buyer worry about it. Despite the PM’s track record I find that they usually wake up at this point and do not evict this tenant because they realize some rent is better than none and certainly better than an abandoned junker in their park.

In many cases these parks come around in years to come and solicit your help in solving the problem “the previous park manager created.” Quite often this call comes from the park owner.

Tony

Re: Getting killed by park managers - Posted by Dave Fl.

Posted by Dave Fl. on May 01, 2007 at 19:31:27:

You said other residents were allowed in with worse credit than your prospects, how can they know what your applicants credit was. Is the manager talking about confidential information to other residents? Thats a no-no.
Dave Fl.

Re: Getting killed by park managers - Posted by land-o

Posted by land-o on May 01, 2007 at 22:34:31:

Gene, a park is subject to hud discrimination suits, and so must have
a rental qualification “criteria” Go in there and ask them for it. If they
want a certain credit score, so long as they evenly enforce it, they can
have it, but it must be so stated in the written criteria.

YOu can screen your tenants according to their criteria, and each one
that has been turned down has a right to know why he has been.

The thing is, if they turn them down they must have a written criteria
to judge them by and reject their application, and you are just stabbing
in the dark unless you know what it is, It may be that they require 4
years of perfect rental references, or no medical negatives, criminal
background, whatever! at any rate you have to know why they aren’t
approving them. Get a letter from your next prospect stating you have
permission to discuss their credit with the manager, and find out what
the problem is and work through it.

Good Stuff. - Posted by Gene

Posted by Gene on May 02, 2007 at 10:42:19:

Thanks for all the good advise. I appreicate it.

Thanks
Gene

Re: Getting killed by park managers - Posted by Gene

Posted by Gene on May 01, 2007 at 19:35:32:

I found this out by talking with the neihbors. One that just moved in told me way to much info about himself, including that he declared bankrupsy last year. And that his income was only $600.00 a month…and on and on.

But I know from my prospective buyers credit applications (that they filled out for me to buy the the trailer on terms) that many of them have much better credit to this new guy the park just approved.

Gene